Softball Drops 4-1 Decision To Cal State Fullerton At NCAA Regionals

May 18, 2002

FRESNO, Calif. - No. 8 Stanford fell short in its bid to return to the College World Series for a second straight season, dropping a 4-1 decision to No. 9 Cal State Fullerton (53-12) at the 2002 NCAA Regionals on Saturday night in Fresno, Calif. The Cardinal conclude the season with a 44-20 overall mark and a sixth place finish in the Pac-10 at 7-14.

The defeat was the second of the postseason for the Cardinal, who were blanked 1-0 by California yesterday in a winner's bracket contest. Stanford notched a 7-0 victory over Pacific in the opening round of the NCAA Regionals on Thursday.

'It seemed like wherever we hit balls, a Fullerton defender was there,' explained Cardinal head coach John Rittman. 'You have to tip your cap to Fullerton, they played stellar defense. Their shortstop (Amanda Hockett) made three of the finest plays I have ever seen...In all my years of coaching, I have never seen a regional make-up this tough. Whoever wins this regional will have earned it.'

Stanford wasted little time getting on the scoreboard against the Titans, pushing across a run in the bottom of the first. Robin Walker (La Palma, Calif.) singled to open the inning and moved to second after Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) drew a walk. Sarah Beeon (Tucson, Ariz.) followed with a ground ball to the left side that was gloved by CSUF's Amy LaRocque, who stepped on third base for the force out. On the next pitch, Mendoza and Beeson advanced on a double steal to put runners at second and third. Heather Shook (Whittier, Calif.) came in to pinch run for Beeson and one batter later, Cassi Brangham (Clovis, Calif.) walked to load the bases. Jessica Allister (Nacogdoches, Texas) responded with a single up the middle to bring home Mendoza for a 1-0 Cardinal lead.

In the top of the third, the Titans bounced back to take their first lead of the contest and first in four games this season against the Cardinal. Eight hitters came to the plate in the inning for Cal State Fullerton, which plated two runners to claim a 2-1 advantage. Krista O'Hanian led off with a single before Cardinal starter Tori Nyberg (Belmont, Calif.) retired the next two hitters. However, back-to-back walks loaded the bases for CSUF and Yasmin Mossadeghi and Amy LaRocque countered with consecutive RBI singles to make it 2-1.

The Titans notched single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to extend their lead to 4-1. With two out in the top of the fourth, Gina Oaks was hit by a pitch and came around to score on a double by Jodie Cox. Cal State Fullerton upped its lead to 4-1 in the fifth when Monica Lucatero led off with a home run.

Meanwhile, Cal State Fullerton starter Gina Oaks retired 15 hitters in a row after giving up a lead-off single to Walker in the bottom of the second. Maureen LeCocq reached on a single in the seventh.

Nyberg (26-10) took the loss for the Cardinal, allowing four runs on five hits in four innings of work. Maureen LeCocq (Woodland Hills, Calif.) tossed three scoreless frames in relief.

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